Five Reasons Railay is the Best Island Vacation In Asia

Railay Thailand Beach SelfieAt my favorite place

There’s a tiny little greedy voice tempting me not to share this.

But seriously, Railay is the best island vacation destination in Asia.

I love it, and if you give it a chance, I think you will too.

(and disclaimer, though it has some of the BEST beaches and most amazing scenery, and requires a boat to get to, Railay actually ISN’T an island. It’s a chunk of land separated from mainland Krabi by its impenetrable landscape of cliffs. So its the best island… that actually isn’t)

Top 5 Reasons Railay is the best “island”

Railay Thailandbecause, this

1. Nature

The beautiful natural landscape of Railay has been preserved, especially on the west side. There are still myriad trees and monkeys and birds, and because there are no cars on the island, there’s no car noise (nor motorbike noise for that matter! yay!). You can soak up the natural sounds in peace, hopefully from your pretty little bungalow.

Railay Thailand Garden Viewcomfy porch sitting and nature viewing from Railay Garden View Resort bungalow

2. Easy to get to

An hours long ferry is NOT necessary! From Krabi, a convenient bus and longtail boat combination can get your from the city to Railay in about an hour. From Bangkok, you can take a one hour flight to Krabi, plus the bus from the airport and the longtail boat, for a combined travel time of about 2 hours. Outstanding!

Longtail Thailandquick boat ride from Krabi to Railay (great views are for free)

3. Activities

Day trips, hiking, walking, rockclimbing, oh my! Railay features many adventure and tour operators, leaving at many times throughout the day. There are even several rockclimbing schools, most with lessons available in the morning (beat the heat!) and in the afternoon, all for crazy inexpensive prices.

Railay Day Trip ThailandOn a day trip from Railay to surrounding islands

4. Best scenery/landscape

The contrast of the dark karsts against the clear blue sky and glassy water is unreal. Railay is THE Thailand of your postcards, movies, and wildest imaginations. I haven’t been anywhere else in Southeast Asia that compares to this wonderland. From sunrise to sunset, and beyond, you will constantly be in awe of the beautiful landscape around you.

Railay Sunset Thailandbest sunsets

5. It is the Goldilocks island
(not too this, not too that, but JUST RIGHT)

Not too busy, but not totally deserted.
Not too many restaurants, but not lacking choice.
Not only Thai food, but not only International food.
Not an insane Slinky-style nightlife, but not without places to get drinks.
Not only backpacker dorms or ultra low budget fan huts, but not only super pricey resorts.
Not only beaches, but not only mainland activities.
More than anywhere else, there is something for literally everyone, but especially you guys.

Railay Thailand 2come on in!

*(bonus reason: My favorite GUESTHOUSE in the world is also in Railay)

For under 50USD (even during high season), you get a gorgeous little wooden seaview bungalow. The comfy chairs and cushions are perfect for reading or watching wildlife from your own private porch, and you fall asleep to the sounds of the forest.

There’s no AC or hot water, but you really don’t need it. This place is paradise, seriously.

Railay Thailand Garden View Guesthousethe entrance to Railay Garden View Resort

Railay Thailand Garden View Sunsetsunrise from Railay Garden View Resort bungalow

Railay Garden Viewmy super cute bungalow at the resort


What is YOUR favorite destination in Asia?



  1. May 9, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    Every trip I have taken to Thailand I have immediately gone north. This post makes me think I need to go south next trip. Looks beautiful.

    • May 9, 2015 / 2:18 pm

      The north is amazing too but the south still has something really special. Those cliffs, wow!! And a really great relaxing vibe

  2. November 26, 2015 / 1:25 am

    I have beend to Krabi but to Railay only for a short hour as a part of the 5 islands tour.
    The pictures really are amazing. As you have written the article in March I guess you have been there around that time or? Is railay always that nice / not too much tourists in high season? When I stayed in Krabi in the rainy season it rained quite a lot, which was not that perfect.

    • November 26, 2015 / 6:28 am

      I’ve been to Railay at 5 various times throughout the year.. I never hit bad weather, fortunately! I have gone in high and in low season, and I never found a high number of tourists. Quite different than Koh Phi Phi, etc…

  3. November 27, 2015 / 3:34 am

    Ah thats really good to know. Some of the islands I visited have been so overrun with tourists (especially chinese tourists) that I felt like in a chicken farm not on a relaxing holiday. Next time I will choose Railay when I visit the southern beaches.

    • November 27, 2015 / 12:41 pm

      Yes it seems like in Thailand a lot of the islands are VERY touristy, and very busy. Especially Koh Phi Phi, though I still enjoy it.
      I would say that Railay is also predominately foreign tourists, though I didn’t find it bothersome nor too busy.

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